The point-and-click adventure genre may be dead, but you won’t forget Circle of Blood’s witty script and engaging story.
Circle of Blood (aka. Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars) begins with George’s near-death experience, and develops into an engaging adventure that sees him and his companion, French journalist Nico Collard, attempting to foil an ancient cult’s plan to revive a deadly power. Along the way, you’ll visit exotic locales and meet a cast of weird and wonderful characters.
This is an old-skool adventure game, so all you really need is the mouse. By clicking on points of interest in the environment, you can get George to move there and inspect something, talk to someone, etc. You’ll also pick up items that can be used or traded to make progress; again, these are selected and used with a couple of mouse clicks. It may be primitive, but it works just fine and is easy to pick up.
It may be a game, but Circle of Blood feels like an interactive novel. There is a linear story progression, but it’s very focused and interesting; you’ll want to keep playing until you finish the story. Part of this compelling quality is provided by the fantastic characters and their voice actors. George and Nico play well off of each other, and the two have some fantastic lines, amplified by the excellent voice-acting. The lesser characters are just as great though, and add tons of personality to the game. These include Andre Lobineau; a snobby historian fighting for Nico’s affection, Flap & Guido; a bumbling double-act of petty criminals who try to impede you, and the killer clown; the one who bombed the café during the game’s beginning.
Arguably the most defining feature of the game is it’s visual flair; you don’t often see games like this nowadays. Everything, from the character models to the environments, is beautifully hand-drawn, giving Circle of Blood a look that no number of polygons can give you. George and Nico will visit Ireland, Spain and Syria to name a few, and each locale has its own unique look. The visuals enhance the effect of the story, and the game is definitely more memorable because of this.
Few games age well, but Circle of Blood is a fantastic example of the exception to the rule. It may have been released way back in 1996, but it’s well worth a go even today. Check those PC bargain bins because Circle of Blood is a real gem.